Worried about the extra pounds after you stop smoking? Here’s the good news, there are many ways to avoid weight gain and stay smoke-free, so let’s check them out.
You've started on your quit journey — written down your
motivations for quitting, thought through the different
quit methods (such as going cold turkey or using nicotine replacement therapy), and armed yourself with
strategies to fight the urge to smoke.
You may also have heard about some ex-smokers putting on extra pounds after quitting, and you don't like the idea of gaining a spare tyre and having your friends comment that you look more “prosperous”.
Don't worry, not everyone gains weight after quitting! Plus, there are ways we can manage our weight and avoid weight gain after stubbing out. Let's check out the strategies.
First, a brief explanation of why we might gain weight after quitting smoking.
Smoking dulls our taste buds, making food seem bland. After quitting, we recover our sense of taste — suddenly, everything tastes yummier, and we start noticing the fragrance of
nasi lemak or the subtle
wok hei of
We might find ourselves indulging a little more than usual too.
Here's the issue: when we eat more than usual while keeping the same level of physical activity, the extra calories consumed have nowhere to go — and they get stored as extra padding and weight.
So, quitting doesn't directly cause weight gain; what we do after we stop smoking matters more, especially in the long term.
Energy Balance – the Only Diet That Works
The good news: not everyone gains weight after quitting. And even if we do put on a little weight, it can be lost with proper diet and exercise (plus the health benefits of quitting last a lifetime), so don't be discouraged!
To help you manage your weight on your journey to smoke-free, here are some tips to keep the kilos away.
Eat small, well-balanced meals throughout the day —
My Healthy Plate is a helpful tool to keep your portions and balance in check.
And remember not to skip meals: you might end up munching on unhealthy snacks to curb your hunger or binge-eating later in the day.
After quitting, you might turn to snacks to keep your “itchy” mouth busy; this could also contribute to weight gain.
The solution? Replace high-fat and sugar-rich snacks with low-calorie healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies.
Need something crunchy to munch on? Try D-I-Y popcorn seasoned with your favourite herbs and spices, like garlic or curry powder. For those with a sweet tooth, trade ice cream for blended frozen bananas — they're just as creamy and delicious!
Drink at least
eight glasses of water daily. Drinking keeps your mouth busy, and downing a glass before a meal helps prevent overeating. Staying hydrated helps with the cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms too!
physical activity — just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can do wonders for your weight and health! If you are overweight, now would be a great time to start losing weight for the health benefits too.
Exercise burns calories and also releases happy hormones that help you stay positive on your quit journey.
Join the I Quit Programme and remain smoke free for 28 days and you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. You can nominate your loved ones as a supporter when you sign up for the programme. Validate your smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and you'll also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!
*Terms and conditions apply.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
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